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Why Is Barbie Rated PG-13? A Parent's Guide To Margot Robbie's New Movie

The weekend of July 20, everyone went to party with "Barbie." But can the whole family join in the fun? That depends on how much explaining parents or guardians are willing to do for the wee ones. According to Rotten Tomatoes, "Barbie" is rated PG-13 for "Suggestive References [and] Brief Language." Language-wise, it definitely takes advantage of Hollywood's notorious one-F-bomb-per-PG-13 rating clause, though those watching the movie do not hear it in full. Instead, there's a bleeped-out "motherf***er." But aside from that, there otherwise there isn't too much to worry about in that department aside from some "damns," "hells," and varied anatomical references. 

There is, however, some sexual innuendo laced throughout the film. This ranges from Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling) being confused about the concepts of one-night stands to Weird Barbie (Kate McKinnon) making a joke about what Ken's packing in his shorts to the sight of a shouting match between two Kens about "beaching" each other. Those are definitely things adults, and not kids, would notice in "Barbie" – and they might be things that parents or guardians don't think are appropriate for their younger loved ones. 

There are also other, deeper storyline elements at work that children might not understand unless they have a guardian at hand to explain it to them.

Barbie is a very existential experience

"Barbie" has become notorious for being a more-than-meets-the-eye project. The main meat of the movie follows Barbie's journey from Barbieland to the real world in a bid for a return to her plastic-fantastic life. Before she leaves, she experiences "flat foot" — a dreaded condition where Barbie's feet go flat and they lose their eternal arch. Cellulite and existential dread duly arrive, and she heads to the real world for a full factory reset. The rest of the film is about the divide between the matriarchal world of Barbieland and the real world — and how they come to affect one another through Barbie's escape. The doll herself comes to grapple with her identity and humanity — and her desire for the latter.

That's pretty heavy subject matter for any film, one that kids might not initially grasp the first time they watch it. Additionally, "Barbie" portrays these issues in a way that many members of the audience might be painfully familiar with. This may or may not be too intense for younger children to sit through, and parents might have to gauge their children's maturity to see if "Barbie" is right for them.

Whether the film's a better fit for a date night, a family night, or a night out with friends, one thing's clear — with "Barbie" raking in a whole lot of cash at the box office, it looks like plenty of families will be spending their time in the movies cooling down this summer with everyone's favorite doll.